Three Mexican Foods That Are NOT Truly Mexican, And How They Came To Be Associated With Mexican Food

Posted on: 27 July 2016

Mexican food in the U.S. has combined several different regional ingredients and flavors to become the restaurant dishes you enjoy. Authentic Mexican food typically does not contain many of these ingredients, which may surprise you if you ever visit Mexico and order a meal. Here are three Mexican foods that are not truly Mexican, and how they came to be associated with Mexican food.


Nachos use several ingredients that are not native to Mexican cuisine. For starters, the fried corn chips themselves are not Mexican (gasp!) and neither is the beef, if you eat yours with taco meat. The sour cream is totally unheard of in Mexico, and so is the cheese. In fact, the only ingredients in nachos that are legitimately Mexican are the refried beans and cilantro con salsa fresca (fresh chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro). If you eat your nachos with guacamole, that's one more ingredient that is legitimately Mexican, but since the whole point to nachos are the chips, you are actually eating a Tex-Mex snack instead.

Beef, in Any Form and in Any Dish

Beef is not a Mexican thing. In fact, beef was added to many Mexican dishes or used in place of mashed beans as the protein when ranchers set up camp in Texas. Because they raised cattle for food, there was an abundant amount of readily available beef, and they used it to create many of the Tex-Mex dishes people assume are authentic Mexican. You want authentic Mexican? Take the beef out of your burrito and eat it only with beans.

Tortillas or Other Wrappers Made with Wheat Flour

Wheat is not grown in Mexico. White flour made from wheat was not used to make traditional tortillas or any other sort of Mexican food wrapper either. Corn, or more specifically maize, is used to make corn flour, which is then used to make authentic tortillas and food wrappers. If you walk into a Mexican restaurant, ask what kind of tortillas and shells they use. If they use only the ones made from corn and corn flour, you have authentic Mexican. If not, you may be able to request corn flour wrappers by explaining you have an allergy to gluten and wheat products. 

Frijoles Negro (Black Beans)

If you are one of those people that gets excited about Mexican food because you can eat that can of frijoles negro, you are not going to like what comes next. Black beans are not Mexican at all. They are very American/Texan in origin, and you will not find them hardly anywhere in Mexico (except in grocery stores that import foreign foods!). Visit an authentic Mexican restaurant, like Lares Restaurant, for a true taste of Mexico.